Emetophobia and Pregnancy

When someone is pregnant, there whole life begins to change. Their body goes through changes and sometimes those changes can bring sickness. Getting sick and throwing up can be a part of pregnancy, especially for some people in the first trimester. Emetophobia and pregnancy is a really issue that many people experience! We break down emetophobia and pregnancy and how to work through it.

What Is Emetophobia?

Emetophobia is simply the fear of vomiting. It can be a fear of you vomiting or others vomiting around you and “losing control.” For pregnant people, vomiting can feel like it is endless. In the first trimester especially, it can become a fear to get sick enough to vomit. Some people experience vomiting through out their entire pregnancy. With this knowledge, some pregnant people develop a fear to vomit and get sick.

How Do You Develop Emetophobia?

Emetophobia develops in a number of ways. Phobias may be extreme fears over something and many can dismiss it as irrational. For the person going through a phobia, these fears are real and are threatening. Phobias are incredibly tricky to determine how they start. Generally, it is because a person has gone through a previous experience that caused them great panic. Secondly, phobias can be learned experiences from family members. For example, if you have parents who were terrified of swimming, you too would be very cautious of swimming. As a child, you may not have had an opportunity to swim and therefore be cautious of it. Additionally, you can develop a phobia.

Lastly, a traumatic event related to the phobia could be another reason. For example, if someone as a child was bitten by a spider and had a reaction, they may develop a fear or even a phobia of spiders.

Emetophobia and Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant and terrified of throwing up, this can be a challenge. Unfortunately, gagging and even vomiting is a symptom of early pregnancy. For some people, these symptoms can last the entire pregnancy. Coupled with a fear of vomiting, this can be extremely unhealthy and stressful for the mom to be. Thankfully, Emetophobia during pregnancy is uncommon.

People develop emetophobia during pregnancy for a number of reasons. It all comes from the phobia of throwing up. Why are some people afraid of throwing up? Everyone’s experience is different. However, there are three main ways a phobia develops.

A Learned Experience

Firstly, it could be because of a learned experience from a family member. Sometimes, when a parent has a phobia, a child develops it as well, even later in life.For example, Mom is afraid of vomiting and you witnessed this as a small child. You grow up being afraid of vomiting also because you saw how much trauma your mother went through being afraid to vomit.

A Traumatic Past Incident or Experience

Alternatively, emetophobia can happen during pregnancy because previously in life you have experienced an incident during vomiting that scared you.For example, as a child you may have vomited and had such a terrifying experience. Maybe, you experienced a horrible choking while vomiting that scared you. The feeling of losing control of your body, the feeling of illness and the inability to breathe can frighten someone so badly, they develop a phobia.

Fear Another One Has Caused

Lastly, fearful stories that other moms tell of their experiences during pregnancy and vomiting can scare someone so badly, they develop a phobia.  For example, when someone has announced their pregnancy, all of the mothers tell horror stories of their first trimester. No one offers encouraging words. The new mom to be gets nervous that she too will have a horrible first trimester with constant vomiting. Whatever the case may be, there are ways to make your phobia a bit easier.

Ways To Cope With Emetophobia During Pregnancy

When you find out you’re pregnant, you may feel sick for a few days to a week. At this time, you have taken a pregnancy test and seen a doctor! However, you have a fear of vomiting. It terrifies you. You may feel like you are afraid to choke, get sick or that you cannot stop vomiting when you start. Though this is a phobia and many people will tell you not to worry, this phobia is real to you. Your feelings matter. Here are some ways to cope with emetophobia during pregnancy. Let’s make your time as easy as possible.

Ginger Cookies

Ginger cookies are a delicious little snack that is known to calm the stomach. They are yummy and many people feel relief from their vomiting symptoms. They have a light flavor so the cookie itself is not overwhelming. It does not have a odor or scent that can set off your stomach. Lastly, it is a quick treat that helps ease your stomach nauseousness.

Talk To Your Doctor

Speak to your doctor honestly about your phobia. Explain how you think you developed it. Also explain how serious it is and how scared you are to vomit. Your feelings are valid and your fear is valid. Your doctor may be able to help you or prescribe you something to ease the sickness you can be feeling. This can be a game changer, especially if you are nauseous most of the time.

Anti Sickness Medication

There are some medications that are safe for pregnant people that you may be able to take. Talk to your doctor (above) and see if they can prescribe you any medication that is safe for pregnant people that relieves some of the symptoms of nausea. Without the feeling of nausea, one is less likely to feel like vomiting and can decrease your emetophobia.

Eating Often and in Little Portions

Many doctors and mothers say eating often and in small portions helps with their morning sickness. Those with emetophobia should eat small portions often through out the day to cut back on the possibility of nausea that could cause vomiting.

Keep Bags Close To You

Some people’s emetophobia involves the fear of being helped while vomiting. Having bags around to help you if you are about to vomit gives you the control of helping yourself. Just knowing the bags are there and ready can ease some of the tensions and phobia around vomiting. Keeping yourself in safe situations can ease the stress that elevates the phobia.

Mint Candy

Some people who suffer from emetophobia during pregnancy swear on mint candies easing their nauseousness. Just sucking on the candy gives them relief from the feeling of vomiting.

These are just a few of the many ways you can either ease your symptoms vomiting or care for yourself if you think you are going to vomit while pregnant.


The act of meditation may help you relieve some of your phobia. If you are having severe panic or anxiety, practicing meditation daily may help you be centered while you go through an attack. Though it may not relieve your symptoms, it can help you through your fears and make it that much more bearable.

Support Groups

Though Emetophobia and pregnancy is rare, it is still something that a people experience all around the world. Though there probably will not be any in person emetophobia groups near by, you can find forums online and groups on social media to help you connect to people who go through similar experiences. Having support, sharing ideas and tactics that help and just being in a community can be a life changer. You may walk away with life long friends. It helps when other people understand.

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Emetophobia and Giving Birth

While giving birth, your body goes through quick changes and some of those changes have symptoms. Sometimes, people feel like they are about to vomit while giving birth. It is important that your care partner is there to instruct the nurses and doctors of your phobia. Be sure to have water, crushed ice (it feels nice to chew on) and a bag to throw up in just in case. Remember, just because you have emetophobia, does not mean you will vomit during labor. Luckily, many people do not experience vomiting during labor.

However, if you do feel symptoms, you will have a team ready. Make sure to invite people who will be your care partners that can help you stay calm. Secondly, practice your meditation to calm your emetophobia and help you focus on labor. Labor can be extensive and painful and your focus should be on yourself and the baby if you can. Lastly, be kind to yourself. Your phobia matters and you are doing a great job balancing your phobia and birth. With a good and caring support team, your symptoms from pregnancy will go away and you will be able to focus on parenthood.

Emetophobia After Birth

Your fear of vomiting may still be there after birth. You have just gone through nine months of pregnancy and the threat of throwing up is real! However, as your body re-balances back to normal and your hormones return to a pre-pregnancy state, you will be delighted to notice that your symptoms of nauseousness have gone down substantially. For many, they will completely disappear after birth.

Thankfully, the top tips on how to deal with emetophobia during pregnancy also translate to helpful hints you can use through out your life. You can get through your fears and thrive.

Emetophobia and Pregnancy

It can be hard to have a phobia during pregnancy. Everything can be heightened while you are pregnant. It does not help that one can feel nauseous not only though the first trimester, but your entire pregnancy. With these helpful hints, you can lessen or even eliminate some of the symptoms of vomiting to make your pregnancy a little more comfortable. Remember to surround yourself with a great care team that understands your phobia and can help you through out your pregnancy journey and right until the birth process.


sick during pregnancy

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